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Venus Envy: Power Games, Teenage Vixens, and Million-Dollar Egos on the Women's Tennis Tour

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A behind-the-scenes look at the hugely popular and often controversial world of women's tennis featuring such household names as Venus and Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova. At a time when attendance and TV ratings for women's tennis are at an all-time high, Sports Illustrated writer L.Jon Wertheim, draws on his investigative talents and knowledge of the game to infiltra ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published March 17th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published August 1st 2001)
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Jun 27, 2012 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A very enjoyable read. It left me with a similar feeling to Open, they lead such intense lives, so many go through some pretty torrid childhoods to reach the top of their field. Sporting heroes are not generally my choice of subject to read, but tennis proves to be the exception. Love the sport and have enjoyed a brief glimpse inside their world.
Cheyenne Blue
Let me add a huge disclaimer here: I love tennis. I'm obsessed by tennis. I love playing it (oh, I love that!), I love watching it, the skill, the power, the grace, the mind games, the players. And I love the women's tour best of all. The women's tour is unpredictable, and it has a huge variety of styles of play. Wimbledon fortnight finds me sleepless (I'm in Oz, so Wimbledon = late nights). All of my celebrity girl crushes are tennis players (well, apart from Michelle Obama, but even she hits a ...more
Jan 20, 2009 Marnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting peek into women's tennis. I only wish I had known about it earlier because reading it in 2012 is 10 years after it was published. So a lot of the references are older.

I like tennis, but am not obsessed with it and truly have no idea how the most famous tennis names rank. To learn that Anna Kournikova wasn't that good (in comparison to the others) makes you realize just how much looks and some PR/Marketing can help a career. None of the other players liked her.

It was als
Sandra Danby
May 20, 2013 Sandra Danby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tennis
This is a warts-and-all commentary of the WTA women’s tennis tour in 2000, at a time when the Williams sisters were beginning to make their mark and commercialisation of the tour was giving it a higher international profile. From who said what to who, or about who, the early Venus v Serena match-offs, and how many matches Anna Kournikova didn’t win to still retain her position as the tour’s biggest earner, L Jon Wertheim is an astute observer. I came to this after reading his book about the clas ...more
Feb 03, 2012 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-nonfiction
I've been intending to read this book since it was published, about 10 years ago. Most of the characters are still well-known, so it's aged pretty well. Packed with gossip and stories from what were obviously many, many extensive interviews, as well as tons of interesting nuggets about the women's tennis tour. Also poorly written and riddled with cliches (which is rich, since the author mocks fellow sports commentators for their use of cliche). Had this little gem, which appeared near the end of ...more
This book does exactly what it's intended to do. In that it gives fans of pro tennis (the women's game in particular) an insider's scoop on the 2000 season on the tour. Venus Williams takes center stage among other notables who need only first-name introductions: Martina, Serena, Anna, Monica, and other names ending in "-a."

The Hoosier-bred, Ivy-educated tennis scribe Wertheim provides enough locker-room fodder and backstory to keep the fan-reader involved, all while flexing his usual witty, lit
Nov 22, 2009 Edmund rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't have purchased this for myself, but, as a gift, it was an entertaining enough read. Especially given the lapse (the book was published in early 2001), it was interesting to consider the changes women's tennis has undergone during this decade. Some names and faces endured, some fell by the wayside, and new ones emerged (and faltered or in some cases sparkled, retired, and then returned to the game).
Roy DeRousse
Feb 18, 2016 Roy DeRousse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behind the scenes in the WTA during the year 2000. Familiar players like the Williams sisters, Davenport, Hingis, and Kournikova get a lot of attention, but some of the lesser known players are discussed too. Discussion includes finances, racism, parent-daughter relationships, and inter-player relationships.
Jeanine Marie Swenson
An interesting and thought-provoking inside look at the competitive and contentious world of professional women's tennis. It is interesting to analyze why we idolize the position of number one so much. Credit goes to both Venus and Serena Williams for staying focused, ignoring criticism, and side-stepping racism and sexism to accomplish their personal goals.
Aug 08, 2016 Writemoves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stories about women tennis in the mid to late 90s featuring the Williams sisters, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Sales etc. Interesting portrait of Anna Kournikova. Mediocre tennis results but she thrived on her looks, modeling and ads. Not portayed as a nice person.
Apr 09, 2008 Mazola1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Standard sports fare. I got the feeling it could have been a lot more interesting, but it was somewhat superficial. I guess what you would expect from a Sports Illustrated author, more used to short articles than perceptive and in depth analysis with nuances.
Aug 13, 2012 Andre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, could have been much better. The author spent too much time injecting his negative opinions of Richard Williams and not enough on the actual goings on and pitfalls of the WTA tour.
Nov 21, 2008 Dallas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jon Wertheim is the authority when it comes to modern tennis. I look forward to his weekly mailbag on He has a great deal of insight into the game--and is a good writer as well!
May 24, 2007 Erwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tennis lovers
L. Jon Wertheim's great account of personalities in professional women's tennis in the early late 90's/early 00's.
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L. Jon Wertheim is the executive editor of Sports Illustrated. A sports journalist with a passion for psychology and economics, he is the author of such New York Times bestsellers as Scorecasting (written with Toby Moskowitz) and You Can’t Make This Up (written with Al Michaels).
More about L. Jon Wertheim...

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